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Huff, Mora homers help scuffling Trachsel secure rare win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Aubrey Huff was surprised when the Kansas City Royals decided to intentionally walk Nick Markakis in the fifth inning. He quickly focused on delivering a clutch hit for the Baltimore Orioles.

Huff hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and Baltimore beat Kansas City 7-4 Friday night for its 11th straight victory over the Royals. Melvin Mora also homered and Steve Trachsel earned his first victory since April 4.

"It's kind of shocking in the fifth inning," Huff said. "I wasn't really expecting it. Nick has been swinging the bat well this series and it's been happening a lot with him this year. He's not getting a lot of pitches to hit. In those situations, you really want to come through and really bear down and make them pay, so hopefully Nick will start getting some better pitches to hit."

Huff was just 3-for-20 with seven strikeouts against Royals starter Gil Meche before the home run.

"I've never seen him well, but every now and then swing hard enough and you're going to hit it," Huff said. "Meche has had some pretty good success against me in the past. I got two strikes and I was looking heater, but he left a curveball out over the plate."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley understood why the Royals walked Markakis, who hit a three-run homer Thursday, to get to Huff.

"I don't blame them," Trembley said. "Huff is a clutch hitter, but Nick's a pretty good hitter, too, and you don't want the same guy to beat you two nights in a row."

Said Royals manager Trey Hillman: "The intentional walk was because I think Huff is less dangerous at this point and time than Markakis. Nick's more dangerous on all pitches."

Huff, who has hit safely in 18 of his past 20 games, went deep with two outs in the fifth to make it 5-2. Freddie Bynum led off the inning with a single.

Mora hit a two-out homer in the third with Bynum aboard after a double.

Trachsel (2-4), who was winless in his last five starts, gave up two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He lasted just three innings in each of his previous two starts, allowing 11 runs and 12 hits with seven walks in six innings.

"I've had bad performances more than just two in a row," Trachsel said. "I've had five or six consecutive in a row. It's definitely nothing I haven't gone through before, so that probably helped. I could see 10 years ago I'd be a mess out there, but I was very relaxed today and had my plan. I knew what I needed to do, now I've just got to do it again."

Alex Gordon hit a two-run drive off Trachsel in the first for his team-best fifth homer of the season. He also had a run-scoring single in the seventh for a season-best three RBIs.

"That first inning, I gave up that home run and had to collect myself on the back of the mound," Trachsel said. "The last thing you want to say is 'Here we go again.' You want to block out all those negative thoughts."

Trachsel pitched out of a one-out jam in the second with runners on second and third by retiring Alberto Callaspo and David DeJesus on grounders.

The Royals loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on walks to Gordon, Mark Grudzielanek and Jose Guillen, but Matt Albers got Ross Gload to ground into an inning-ending double play.

"We had every opportunity in the second and sixth," Hillman said. "Offensively, it boils down to those two innings."

Meche (2-5) went five innings for the Royals, allowing five runs and six hits. His ERA ballooned to 6.31.

"My curveball was not real sharp," Meche said. "Three or four of them that they hit hard were breaking balls. I tried to bounced one to Huff and threw it in exactly the wrong spot to a lefty."

The Orioles tacked on two runs in the seventh. Markakis scored on Ramon Ramirez's wild pitch and Kevin Millar singled in Huff.

George Sherrill worked the ninth for his 12th save in 14 opportunities.

Game notes
John Buck also had an RBI single for Kansas City. ... American Idol finalist David Cook, who is from the Kansas City suburb Blue Springs, Mo., threw out the ceremonial first pitch and sang "Take Me Out To the Ball Game" in the seventh inning. ... Markakis has reached base in 33 of 35 games.